There was a time when the stealth genre was as a pure as the word. Sneaking was paramount and getting spotted was a one way ticket to a grisly death. But with the advent of genre-blending titles like Assassin’s Creed, ‘stealth’ is now less a genre and more an optional play style.
Whatever form it takes, the basics of stealth remain the same: It is a puzzle, where the player must achieve the objective undetected, and the more routes there are to explore, the more varied the toolbox of abilities to experiment with.
For this list we will look at the absolute best, as decided by the Internet itself.
The methodology is simple: comb the Web for rankings – critic and fan generated – citing the best examples of the genre, find the best missions those game can boast, and compile the results. And if there is a tie, rankings of the best stealth missions will be used to break them.
For variety’s sake, only one title per franchise is allowed, and missions must be clearly defined.
(Critic lists sourced: Cultured Vultures, IGN, Gameranx, Gurugamer, sportskeeda, 2Game, Rock Paper Shotgun, Happy Mag, GAMERS DECIDE, Leviathyn, GameWatcher, Player.One, GamingBolt and PCGamesN among others. Fan lists sourced: Various Reddit posts, with contributions from GameSpot and GameFAQs forums).
10. Confronting Mr Freeze - Batman: Arkham City
Arkham City may seem a strange choice for this list. Batman is, after all, less ghost and more predator, ploughing through crowds of gun-toting, knife-wielding mooks like the proverbial Texas tornado; stealth is entirely optional. But not against Mr Freeze.
This is an encounter where fisticuffs is a one-way ticket to a game over screen and staying out of sight is paramount. So if sneaking isn’t your thing it was time to learn a new style, and fast.
Worse, up until that point City had been quite happy to indulge you. Like swooping down from gargoyles? Go ahead. Prefer popping out of vents like some pointy-eared chest-burster? Peachy. But against Freeze once you burned your favourite move, that was it, you’re not using it again. This fight planted you firmly on the ground, taking you out of your comfort zone and forcing you think very carefully about where you moved and how you did it.
As a stealth mission it is perfection, a tense, entertaining brain-teaser that requires quick thinking and quicker reflexes, all employed against a tough, challenging opponent.